How do I create a signable PDF?
April 25, 2016 7:29 AM   Subscribe

SIGNABLE PDF: I'm trying to create an easy-to-use release form using Acrobat Pro. Does the recipient need a copy of Acrobat Pro, too?

I'm trying to create an easy-to-use release form using Acrobat Pro. Does the recipient need a copy of Acrobat Pro, too?

Here's what I'd like to do:
- Create a PDF with a line that says “Agree or Disagree"
- Send the PDF to an individual outside my company.
- The individual outside the company clicks a button on the PDF that says, “I agree.”
- Then they email it back to us.

Can I do this with Acrobat Pro? Can the individual sign the PDF with Reader (either on desktop or mobile device) or do they need to have Acrobat Pro as well?
posted by zooropa to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use DocuSign for this kind of thing. Runs in the browser, doesn't require the other person to have any software installed, even works on mobile.
posted by primethyme at 7:49 AM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Another app with a 30 day trail is CutePDF, which I found to be really easy.

If this is a one-time kind of thing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:14 AM on April 25, 2016

Most PDF reader applications will allow the end user to complete fillable PDF forms with no problem, even if they're designed in Acrobat Pro.

The use case you describe should not pose any problems from a technical perspective, but I'm not sure a button click is what you want. CLicking a button is not going to make any visible changes to the document unless you attach some scripting to the ButtonClick event that changes something in the form. Once you start adding scripting like that, compatibility may become a little bit dicier.

I would recommend instead a textbox where they type the words "I agree" or their name. Or even just a radio button where they select Agree/Disagree.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 8:32 AM on April 25, 2016

Wait, do the need to add a signature, or just fill in the one form field?
posted by amtho at 8:32 AM on April 25, 2016

Here is what I used recently to create a similar style form. We needed the person to fill in a few names, check the acknowledgement, and then email it back. The one difference we had was we didn't want it to be editable after the user filled out the form.

1. Create your PDF with all the text/formatting you need.
2. Go to Tools>Forms>Edit
3. Add New Field>Check Box
4. Add New Field> Button
5. Edit the button. Under the Actions tab select trigger "Mouse Up" with the action "Run a JavaScript." For the Script you can do "this.getField("Agree").readonly = true;" to lock the checkbox so it can't be unchecked. "this.getField("Submit").display = display.hidden;" will hide the Submit button from the final form.
6. Add another action to the button on Mouse Up to "Submit a Form." For the URL enter "mailto:" and then as Export Format choose "PDF The complete document." This will send cause it to email a complete PDF to the email address.
7. Save it as Reader-Extended to give non-Acrobat users the ability to save their entries. Click the "Close Form Editing" button in the top-right. Then File>Save As Other>Reader Extended PDF>Enable More Tools. This will save it as a pdf where anyone can save what they have entered into the form.

Steps 4-6 are optional if you don't need it to lock down the page.

posted by Deflagro at 9:35 AM on April 25, 2016

On my form I also had a text box for them to type in their name at the top. This then automatically updated the text next to the checkbox to say "By checking this box I, Deflagro, acknowledge..."

To do this, you add a Form Textbox at the top of the page for them to put their name in. Then you add another textbox next to your Checkbox that is "Read Only." On the Calculate tab put in a Custom Calculation Script:

var YourName = this.getField("NAME OF THE PREVIOUS NAME TEXTBOX").value;

if(YourName != "") {
event.value = "By checking this box I, " + YourName + ", acknowledge receipt of this....";
} else {
event.value = "By checking this box I acknowledge receipt of this...." ;
posted by Deflagro at 9:41 AM on April 25, 2016

This is what I'm looking for. Thanks!
posted by zooropa at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2016

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